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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force

ISBN13: 9780195389654
Published: March 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £67.00

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The thirteen essays by Allen Buchanan collected here are arranged in such a way as to make evident their thematic interconnections: the important and hitherto unappreciated relationships among the nature and grounding of human rights, the legitimacy of international institutions, and the justification for using military force across borders.

Each of these three topics has spawned a significant literature, but unfortunately has been treated in isolation. In this volume Buchanan makes the case for a holistic, systematic approach, and in so doing constitutes a major contribution at the intersection of International Political Philosophy and International Legal Theory.

A major theme of Buchanan's book is the need to combine the philosopher's normative analysis with the political scientist's focus on institutions. Instead of thinking first about norms and then about institutions, if at all, only as mechanisms for implementing norms, it is necessary to consider alternative "packages" consisting of norms and institutions.

Whether a particular norm is acceptable can depend upon the institutional context in which it is supposed to be instantiated, and whether a particular institutional arrangement is acceptable can depend on whether it realizes norms of legitimacy or of justice, or at least has a tendency to foster the conditions under which such norms can be realized.

In order to evaluate institutions it is necessary not only to consider how well they implement norms that are now considered valid but also their capacity for fostering the epistemic conditions under which norms can be contested, revised, and improved.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Public International Law
Part I: Human Rights
1.: "Justice, Legitimacy, and Human Rights," in The Idea of Political Liberalism, Victoria Davion and Clark Wolf, eds. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.
2.: "Taking the Human Out of Human Rights," in Rawls's Law of Peoples: A Realistic Utopia?, Rex Martin and David A. Reidy, eds. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing 2006.
3.: "Equality and Human Rights," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 4(1), 2003.
4.: "Human Rights and the Legitimacy of the International Legal Order," Legal Theory, 14, 2008.
Part II: Legitimacy
5.: "The Legitimacy of Global Governance Institutions," (Robert O. Keohane, second author), Ethics & International Affairs, 20 (4), 2006.
6.: "The Legitimacy of International Law," The Philosophy of International Law, Samantha Besson and John Tasioulas, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 (in press)
7.: . "Democracy and the Commitment to International Law," Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 34, 2006.
8.: "Constitutional Democracy and International Law: Are They Compatible?," (Russell Powell, second author), The Journal of Political Philosophy, 2008 (in press).
Part III: The Use of Force
9.: "The Internal Legitimacy of Humanitarian Intervention," The Journal of Political Philosophy, 7 (1), 1999.
10.: . "Beyond the National Interest," Philosophical Topics, special issue on global equality, Martha Nussbaum, ed., 30 (2), 2002.
11.: . "Institutionalizing the Just War," Philosophy & Public Affairs, 34 (1), 2006.
12.: "Justifying Preventive War," Preemption: Military Action and Moral Justification, Henry Shue and David Rodin, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
13.: "From Nuremburg to Kosovo: The Morality of Illegal International Legal Reform," Ethics, 111, 2001.